Hydrocotyle americana (American Water Pennywort)
|Also known as:||American Marsh-pennywort|
|Habitat:||shade, sun; marshes, swamps, forest floodplains, seeps|
|Bloom season:||May - August|
|Plant height:||2 to 10 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: none MW: OBL NCNE: OBL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Leaves and stems:
Leaves are round to kidney-shaped, ¼ to 2¼ inches wide, with 6 to 10 shallowly toothed, shallow lobes around the edge, on a sparsely hairy stalk up to 2 inches long. New leaves may have a few sparse hairs on the surface that quickly wear away. Stems are hairless, slender and creep along the ground, rooting at the nodes and often creating small but dense colonies.
Fruit is tiny, dry, flattened, and circular, containing two seeds that split apart.
Formerly in the Apiaceae (carrot) family, American Water Pennywort was listed as a Special Concern species for MN in 1984 due to its few numbers in the state and specialized habitat, which, according to the DNR, is primarily along cold groundwater streams and seeps within larger river valleys. A relatively common species in Wisconsin, Minnesota is the extreme western edge of its range. Similar is Hydrocotyle ranunculoides (Floating Marsh Pennywort), which is primarily a more southern, eastern and Pacific coast species with a disjunct population known to be in Scott County. H. ranunculoides is more often found floating in shallow water, it has more deeply lobed leaves than H. americana, and its flower clusters are on a stalk up to 3 inches long arising from the leaf node, where the flower clusters of H. americana are stalkless or nearly so.
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- American Water Pennywort plant
- a sense of scale
- view from the top of a small dense colony
- view from the bottom
- American Water Pennywort habitat
Photos by K. Chayka, Peter M. Dziuk and John Thayer taken at William O'Brien State Park.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?